Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Arming the Donkeys on kids, parenting, and Burning Man

Posted 12 Sep 2016 / 0

Whenever I have a really mind-numbing task that I need to do, I turn to podcasts to save me from the tedium. One of my favorite respites is Dan Ariely‘s Arming the Donkeys podcast.

Today I checked out a couple of great episodes for the parents out there. Just released a few days ago is an interview with Erica Reischer about effective parenting (“What Great Parents Do”). I thought that their discussion of reputation was fascinating: the suggestion was that parents should encourage their children to have good reputations in the family and that with good reputation comes greater access to privileges. This is just how I was raised and how I have tried to raise my oldest child, now 14 years old. What’s really cool about this parenting approach is that it models good social behavior — and the achievement of good social standing — in future life… so you are not just breeding good behavior in your household when you emphasize reputation, you are also helping your child to be a better (and more effective) member of her future social groups.

The bit with regular interviewee Mike Norton about how deception develops in kids (“Children and Cheating”) was also fascinating in the sense that it reveals not just a penchant for deception in kids but an increasing sense that one ought to hide one’s cheating from others.

And I have to confess that I was drawn to the interview with Sarah Heller about her work on Burning Man (“A Better ‘Burning Man'”). That initial draw turned out to be well-followed, as the interview really focused on Burning Man as a play space. I am very interested in how humans in large-scale societies create play spaces — and why they do so — so conceptualizing Burning Man in this manner was fascinating.

A Minor Post, Behavior, Development, Empathy, Game Theory, Human Evolution, Play, Public Outreach, Radio & Podcasts, Reputation, Social Norms

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